1.23.2010

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Kindred (Bluestreak Black Women Writers) My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was recommended to me by my friend, Erika. I was a bit hesitant because I knew Octavia E. Butler wrote science fiction, and I'm not a big fan of sci-fi. Even more, stories of time travel tend to give me a headache, because I tend to over-think the logic of them. But, my friend insisted this book was different because the story is not about how or why the woman is traveling through time, but rather about her experiences in the past and how they affect her. The time travel is just a device. I was very intrigued by the storyline: a black woman, who is married to a white man, travels back and forth across time between 1976 and the days of slavery in the early 1800s.

The main character, Dana, is repeatedly summoned to antebellum Maryland to save the life of Rufus, the white son of a slave owner, and one of her ancestors. She witnesses and experiences first-hand the horrors of slavery: beatings; hard labor; families torn apart when the Master sells children, husbands, wives; and submssiveness. The story is very well-written and is extremely thought-provoking and engrossing.

I highly recommend this book and feel so grateful that I gave it a chance.

4 comments:

Erika said...

Yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! The book doesn't even really qualify as science fiction -- it's more like a novel that has one fantastical element thrown into it, I think.

You might like other stories/novels that Butler wrote. Try Wild Seed, if you think you might be up for it.

Allyssa said...

Totally unrelated to the book, but I was repeating something to Arty about how I saw a poll on a baby site where a woman asked for input on her baby name choice of Kindred for a girl. I was 100% opposed (though I didn't comment) to all these commentors stating, "oh, its so unique" "go for it", etc, but I just thought it was weird that then this book shows up on your blog a day later. Maybe that lady should name her kid that...ITS A SIGN!

Valerie said...

Erika, I checked out the plot for Wild Seed...I might look into it some day. The shape-shifting reminds me of True Blood. Thanks again for the Kindred recommendation.

Allyssa, that's funny--it does sound like a sign!

Erika said...

If you want to borrow it, or any other Octavia Butler book, let me know. I have all of them, plus her collection of short stories. The only one I don't have is Survivor, her first novel, which even she recommended not be read because she didn't think it was good at all.

Speaking of books - do you have a book called Zeitoun? We are reading it for my next book club,and Mark mentioned that you might have it. It's only in hardcover right now, so I was hoping to borrow either from someone or from the library.